David Cameron’s statement on Libya just now was cautious in tone and content. The
Prime Minister stressed that "no transition is ever smooth or easy."
Cameron said that he wanted to see Libya become a "free, democratic and inclusive" country. He emphasised that the NATO mission there would continue for as long as necessary.
In an attempt to reassure the country that the liberation of Tripoli will not be followed by the chaos that followed the fall of Baghdad, Cameron repeatedly mentioned the post-conflict
reconstruction planning that has been going on. He also said that he had stressed to the National Transitional Council that there must be no reprisals.
Noticeably, Cameron decided to reiterate his "necessary, legal and right" formulation in this statement. This rubric, intended rather unsubtly to try and differentiate this
conflict from Iraq, is designed to show that Libya does not represent a new foreign policy doctrine. But it will be intriguing to see if the apparent success of this mission changes Cameron’s
approach to these matters.